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Mike DeBonis has finally found an institution to cover that’s more dysfunctional than the District government. After eight years spent haunting Wilson Building hallways, DeBonis will leave city hall to cover Congress for the Post.

“I met a lot of wonderful people, and—-Jesus Christ, I sound awful—-you know, I made a lot of friends,” DeBonis says.

DeBonis started covering the District government in 2007, first in this very column, then at the Post. Among the highlights of his career, according to DeBonis: meeting his future wife, then a press staffer for Adrian Fenty; and the first time time he listened to the Marion Barry voicemails that would splash oral sex across Washington City Paper‘s front cover (and get issues removed from a few restaurants).

“I will treasure that for the rest of my life,” DeBonis says.

Among the worst moments: getting scooped by rival reporters; the deaths of Barry, activist Jeff Coudriet, Ward 4 candidate A.J. Cooper, and Muriel Bowser staffer Tim Clark; and the federal investigations into councilmembers and political operatives.

“It’s tough to watch all these bozos walk in and out of the courthouse,” DeBonis says.

Barry’s death played into DeBonis’ decision to ditch his longtime beat.

“As [NBC4’s] Tom Sherwood said on TV the morning after Marion died, it’s a cliche to say it’s the end of an era, but it’s the end of an era,” DeBonis says. “That’s undoubtedly true, and it just felt like if there’s a time to leave, this is going to be it.”

Tough to see him go! If you’re feeling down too, commiserate with LL by sending your news tips to wsommer@washingtoncitypaper.com or 202-650-6925.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery